Archive for the ‘Random Stuff’ Category

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I can’t believe it took me this long to make my own laundry detergent. I pinned this about 3 months ago and I’m just now getting around to making it. I am so excited about it that I had to share it with you all!

A little bit about me: I am FRUGAL. Sean may disagree on some things but for 99% of the time, FRUGAL is my middle name. Very rarely do I pay full price for anything. It has to be something pretty spectacular for me to pay full price. Like gasoline. When I shop deals online, I even shop the price of shipping. So when I found out that I could make my own laundry detergent for PENNIES and I would be ditching all the chemicals that are in the majority of store bought detergents, I was stoked. Now, when I was buying detergent in the past, I was buying the dye free and environmentally friendly soap. Not the cheapest stuff out there and I was buying a lot of it. My washer is constantly going, mostly with my workout clothes.

I have some pretty high expectations of my laundry detergent so I was kind of skeptical. I decided to test it out on Preston’s clothes first. I wasn’t too worried about botching his clothes. Everything looked great and smelled fresh. On to Kylie’s clothes. Same deal – bright, clean and fresh. Now comes the true test: my workout clothes and Sean’s soccer clothes. SCORE!

A word of advice if you decide to go this route. Do not wait until you are completely out of your current detergent before making your own! The “recipe” I use calls for Mrs. Meyers bar soap and you can’t buy that stuff anywhere! If anyone knows where I can find it in Austin, please let me know. I shopped around online and found the cheapest price for soap and shipping on Walgreen’s site. You can use any “natural” soap that you like, it doesn’t have to be Mrs. Meyers. I personally love the product so I knew I’d be happy with the scent. Let’s get to making some detergent!

Here is what you will need:
1 box of Borax
1 box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1 bar of Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Soap. I used Lavender and Lemon Verbena.
Cheese grater – I used my microplane. Just make sure to wash it really well after!
Essential Oils (optional)

Mix 1 cup of Borax with 1 cup of the washing soda. Add in 2 cups of grated soap and mix well! If you are happy with the scent, you are done. I mixed up a big batch with the lemon soap and a smaller batch with the lavender soap. I like my laundry to smell really fresh so I added drops of lemon and lavender essential oils to each batch. If you so this step, mix it up really well with a fork to make sure you don’t have any little oil clumps. This adds an extra layer of scent. All you need to use is 1/4 – 1/2 cup per load. I experimented and I used closer to 1/2 a cup because I wash big loads. You can also add 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar to your rinse cycle in place of your fabric softener!

Piece of cake! It works great, smells great and looks really cool in glass containers. Happy washing!

I strive to have some form of consistency in my life and the one thing that I can always count on is what I buy at the store. I love Costco. It has 95% of what I need so I do almost all of my shopping there. I hit HEB for coconut milk, bacon, lunch meat, veggies and fruit that I can’t find at Coscto. If you are not already a member of Costco, I highly recommend it. They carry organic meat, poultry, eggs and certain organic veggies and fruit when they are in season. The quality of veggies and fruit is really good. It may not all be organic but that’s ok. I’d love to be 100% organic but our budget doesn’t allow for it so I buy what I can. No matter what, I always buy organic eggs, chicken and ground beef. Any other cuts of meat I buy are lean like sirloin. If you do end up with a cut of meat that is not grass-fed, just cut off the extra fat and don’t stress about it.

Here are some pictures of what I buy on a normal trip to the store. Some other things that aren’t pictured that you can get for a great price at Costco are almond butter, olives, artichoke hearts, maple syrup and nuts.

Veggies! Avocadoes (super cheap!), organic salad mix, baby bella mushrooms, celery, baby cucumbers (I’m going to make my own pickles.), English cucumbers and kale salad. I also buy asparagus, red bell peppers and brussell sprouts.

veggies

Protein! Rotisserie chicken, sirloin steak, organic eggs and organic ground beef. I also buy organic ground turkey and organic chicken thighs. They carry organic chicken breast but personally I think thighs have much more flavor.

meat

More protein! Sausage and Canadian bacon.

sausage

Coconut oil. This giant jar is only $15.

coconutoil

Pure Irish grass-fed butter. Once you taste this butter, you’ll never go back to the regular stuff.

butter

Chicken broth. Can’t beat this deal.

broth

Now for the non-Costco items. Coconut milk and creamer. Always buy unsweetened.

coconutmilkcold

Ostrim sticks. Little sticks of protein. These are the BEST go to snacks. I keep at least three of them in my purse or bag. We go through these like crazy so I order them in bulk from Amazon and it comes out to be about half of what you pay for them in the store. I order two kinds: the natural flavor which is a mix of ostrich and beef and the second on is a maple brown sugar turkey stick.

ostrim

And last but not least, supplements. Here’s what I am currently taking. I’ll be adding in Advocare protein shakes in a couple of weeks.

supplements

That’s it! Happy fueling!

You paid money to look like that?

Posted: October 12, 2012 in Random Stuff

Things don’t always go as planned. It’s how you react to the plan is what matters. I’m a planner. A BIG planner. I had a plan and it went so far South that I wondered if there was any plan left.

Way back in March, I signed up to get my CrossFit Olympic Lifting Certification this coming weekend. CF certification classes are pretty pricey, they don’t offer than many of them so you are most likely going to have to travel to attend a class and if something happens and you can’t attend, you do not get your money back. I lucked out and got the last spot for a class that is being taught here in town at CF Central. The next closest class is in Atlanta and it was already sold out. The one here in Austin was the last one offered for the year so I was committed!

My plan was to really work on my lifts before the class so I would go in ahead of the game. I started working with my coach for a month starting in July specifically on Olympic lifts. During that time, I started to have some shoulder pain. It wasn’t a constant pain, just a weird sharp pain anytime I would lift anything over my head. If I warmed up really, really well, I could push through it so I didn’t do anything about it. Then came the Iron Belle competition and between the clean and jerk ladder, the 30 wall balls, 30 push press and countless pull-ups, my shoulders were toast. My adrenaline was so crazy during the competition that I didn’t feel ANYTHING. About a week later when I couldn’t even do a normal push-up, I was concerned but not enough to go see anyone. Smart huh? I figured extra stretching and warm-ups would get rid of it. I pretty much clawed my way through my workouts for the next month. Everything sucked, I wasn’t getting stronger, I still couldn’t get past the skinny band on my pull-ups, I wasn’t having fun and I was really starting to dread going into the garage. I was just about done.

The workout that sent me over the edge was “Fran”. 21-15-9, thrusters and pull-ups. I started out with a 45lb barbell and I could barely get it over my head. I was so freaking mad. I had to keep dropping down until I was down to 25lbs and I couldn’t freaking believe it. I know that we all have bad days in the gym but this was ridiculous. That was my absolute worst day ever in the gym. I was done.

I decided that I needed to give my body a break. I was trying to do 5 days on in the gym and 2 days off. It worked better with my schedule. My body thought differently. One of the things that I have to accept is that my recovery time is longer at 43 than at 33. I’m going back to 3 days on, one day off and we’ll see how that works. I took two weeks off from doing anything heavy and only did my 5k training. I didn’t change my diet because that was another thing that I had been struggling with. Am I eating enough, not enough, too much of this and not enough of that? What the hell! I wanted to see if just resting my body would be enough. Turns out it was a HUGE part of it.

Remember – I had a plan! During all of this time, I’m supposed to be working on my lifts and getting stronger so I’d be ready for this certification class. When you get certified in anything CF, you work your ass off for those two days. You aren’t sitting at desks taking notes. You are out of the floor doing the moves. I could barely walk on day 2 of my Level 1 Trainer certification course. I’m fully prepared to be paralyzed by Monday after this course. Not only have I not been lifting heavy weights, I haven’t been lifting any weights. I physically couldn’t do it. It hurt my shoulders to pull the covers up on my bed. Not exactly preparing for class.

A few weeks ago I was telling my friend Carey about what was going on with my shoulders. Carey is a world-class athlete so she is quite experienced when it comes to this stuff. She suggested I go and see the guys at Next Level Chiropractic. I’m thinking I just need a little physical therapy and I’ll be good to go. I considered seeing on orthopedist and actually made an appointment. It was going to take forever to get in and then they started talking x-rays and then on to physical therapy and I just couldn’t do it. After spending 7 months in physical therapy for my knees, I just couldn’t do it again for my shoulders unless I absolutely had too. Only if there wasn’t any other alternative. I also didn’t want someone to tell me to stop doing what I was doing and I could see it coming.

I found the card that Carey gave me and called Next Level and was able to get an appointment in just a few days. I checked out their website and I was so excited to see that they specialize in working with CrossFitters! Sweet! Someone who will work with me, get me healthy AND stronger. I was so excited. My first appointment lasted over an hour because they went through everything with me and found the source of my problem. Bad nerves – not necessarily bad shoulders. My nerves are all jumbled up in my shoulders and chest and they aren’t moving the way that they should. It’s a pretty easy fix but the treatment is pure torture. It’s called Active Release Technique (ART) Soft tissue massage. ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. There’s lots of twisting and pushing and pinching and I’m pretty sure I almost passed out a couple of times. Two days later, I woke up with very minimal pain. It worked!

I’ve had 2 more treatments since last week. Yesterday it went to a whole new level. The ART part of it wasn’t as bad as before – it does become less painful – but nothing could have prepared me for the scraper. The muscle scraper that is. This treatment is thousands of years old and originated in China. It is used for all kinds of treatments because it basically pushes all the crap out of your muscles and it hurts like nothing I have ever felt before.

Muscle fibers are supposed to be long and flowing. Mine are all wound up like a ball of yarn. This comes from years of sitting at desk in front of a computer, bad posture, a messed up neck and not stretching as much as I should. The scraper is either made out of metal or plastic and it looks just like a kitchen scraper or just a regular scraper that you would use to scrape up something. A lotion is applied to the part of your body that is going to be scraped and then the scraping begins. Basically you start from the top and scrape down. Short, fast and really hard scrapes. This is breaking up all of the lactic acid and toxins that are in unhealthy muscles and pushing it out. What’s crazy is that when you scrape a healthy muscle, nothing changes on the skin. Unhealthy muscles immediately because red, inflamed and bruised. It took about 2 seconds for my arms to look like I lost a fight with a baseball bat. After that is over, my arms are packed in ice for ten minutes and then taped up. The tape helps with the bruising and also hides it! I decided to get taped up because I was going straight from there to coach my after school kids. I had no idea I was going to have this done so I didn’t bring a shirt with sleeves. I didn’t want them to completely freak when they saw me. Tape also makes for great conversations.

Last night was pretty much a sleepless night because my arms hurt so bad BUT I woke up with absolutely no shoulder pain! I was actually able to lift a barbell today without any pain at all. Freaking amazing. I’m really glad that my body is reacting this way to the treatment! I’m not freaking out as much as I was before about this weekend. The bruises are pretty horrible but to have relief in only 3 appointments is so worth it!

Lessons learned from this little experience: 1. Listen to your body! If you can’t push through the pain, it’s probably something you need to get checked out. Don’t put it off! 2. Be open to different types of treatment. Traditional Western medicine isn’t always the best. Don’t be afraid to try something different. 3. Find a doctor or therapist who will work with you to keep reaching your goals. They are out thereĀ  – don’t be afraid to change if you aren’t getting what you need. 4. Listen to your coach! If your coach tells you to get it checked out, DO IT. 5. This should be first on the list: Preventative therapy is a really good idea! Most people don’t go to the chiropractor or get a massage when they are feeling good. If you do it when you are healthy, it will KEEP you healthy. Don’t wait until you are injured to get some therapy or relief!

Here’s info on scraping therapy. Here’s the link to the docs at Next Level Chiropractic. I highly recommend them!

Here’s a picture of one of my arms. The tape is covering up the ginormous bruises all up and down my arm. The other arm looks pretty much the same way. Sexy!

I workout by myself most of the time so it’s up to me to talk myself up during a workout to make it through. It would be so easy to quit when it gets too hard but I’d hate myself in the morning. I put together a list of thoughts that have gone through my mind and I just know they go through the mind of my clients. I can see it in their eyes when they look at me like they want to kill me. This crazy train of thoughts is usually between 15 – 30 minutes.

“That WOD doesn’t look to bad. I think I’ll do the prescribed weight.”
“Feeling pretty good! I got this!”
“Seriously? WTF was I thinking on the weight?”
“OMG, I’m going to die.”
“I think I’m going to puke.”
“My arms don’t work anymore.”
“Someone please get me out of here.”
“Squat lower? I got your squat right over here.”
“Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.”
“YOU CAN DO THIS!”
“Breathe. Breathe. Don’t forget to breathe.”
“”Halfway? We are only halfway done? Are you f’ing kidding me?”
“One more round. One more round.”
“TIME! I’m done!”
“Holy SH!T! I did it!”
“DAMN – that was so awesome!”

And then we do it all over again the next day. All aboard!

Reflections on the Iron Belle.

Posted: August 20, 2012 in Random Stuff

I’ve been doing this CrossFit thing for almost a year and a half now. I’d say that I’ve definitely trained the most during the last 6 months. Because of that, I really expected to do better.

My first CrossFit event or competition was last September and it was Fight Gone Bad. I was doing physical therapy three times a week for my knee surgery so I entered in the intermediate division. My physical therapist STRONGLY suggested that I did not compete any higher with the concern that I would undo the work that I had done so far. I was really happy with my score and felt a huge feeling of accomplishment.

Fast forward to last weekend and the Iron Belle Competition. This is women’s only annual competition that is put on by CrossFit Central. I volunteered for the event last year and in the back of my mind, I thought about doing it but I still had that voice saying “But your knees!” When the announcement came out about a month ago that it was coming up, I totally got excited about it and recruited my friend Rae to be my partner. I told my bestie Kerri about it and she signed up for it along with our friend Sheri. Sheri recruited Kerri to her CF box so they work out together.

As a prep to the competition, CrossFit Central had a skills training session to go over some of the moves that we possibly could be doing in the competition. One of the moves was a clean and jerk. I felt really good about this since I had just finished Olympic lifting training the week before. Rae on the other hand, not so much. Rae is one of my clients and I train her at her house. I typically don’t haul barbells around with me so you can say that Olympic lifts have not been part of our training. A medicine ball clean is the closest she has ever gotten to doing a clean and jerk. She picked up the moves pretty quickly and I brought a barbell and weights to her house for her to practice with.

A few days before the event, we found out exactly what we would be doing. A clean and jerk ladder was one of the events. We would start at 45lbs and go up ten steps to 95. Rae’s max was 65 and mine was 90. I’ve attempted 95 but failed because I’m afraid to drop under the bar because I have this mental block about my knees. I was pretty sure that I would be able to break through it if 90 ended up being pretty easy.

The first event was a 2-mile train run with a WOD halfway through that was 100 medicine ball passes and 50 kettle bell swings between the two of us and it all had to be done in 22 minutes or less. For some reason, I always think I can run better than what I actually can. I suck at running. It’s the one thing that I really don’t like to do so I don’t do it enough to improve upon it. Rae on the other hand runs an 8-minute mile. When you do a partner competition, you are only as strong as your weakest link. The run KILLED me and we ended up with a 31 minute time. Ugh.

After the trail run, we headed to CF Central for the rest of the competition. We rocked on the ladder! Rae hit 85lbs and I got 90lb up without much problem and totally failed on 95. I did three attempts and couldn’t drop under the bar. MENTAL SCREW. I think though that the ladder was my favorite event. I really do enjoy lifting more than anything.

Next came the final WOD. In 18 minutes we had to do 60 wall ball shots, 50 burpees over the barbell, 40 65lb dead lifts, 30 partner assisted pull ups, 20 65lb push press and a 400 meter run carrying a 20lb sandbag. We did so good on everything but the stupid pull ups. They just about killed us. Our plan was to do 7-10 each and by the end, we were doing 2 each. That was a major time suck. About 30 seconds into the run, my left calf muscle completely seized up and I ran on my toes and Rae had to carry the sandbag the entire time. Our final time was 15:18 and I was really happy with that!

I probably shouldn’t have looked at the results for the entire competition because we ended up finishing in the bottom half and it made me mad. Way, way lower half. If we had finished the run 5 minutes faster, we would have finished much higher. I put a lot of pressure on myself for us to do better since I am a coach and Rae is a client. What does that say about my abilities as a coach and an athlete if we aren’t finishing in the top 10% or at least the top half? Yes, we did just do this for fun but it is a competition. Whether you are competing against yourself or other teams, it is still a competition.

Rae made a really good point. We would have done better if in fact, we trained together for it. I don’t belong to a box because I train out of my garage and I typically train by myself. Rae does CF once a week and runs the rest of the time. I’m betting that the majority of the girls take the same classes together or at least go to the same CF box. Not an excuse by any means but I think it definitely makes a difference. I also need to run more. A lot more. I can’t expect to do well in a race when I don’t even know how fast I can run a mile much less if I can even run a mile without stopping.

After it’s all said and done, I had an awesome time. I really do like competing and I love CF. I can’t wait for the next competition! I’m hitting the road running once my leg releases the hostage it has taken in my calf muscle.

Here’s a video of a clean and jerk in case you were wondering what it is.

 

When I tell people I eat paleo 80-90% of the time, I am usually asked what exactly do I eat. Pictures sometimes speak louder than words so I decided to document 5 days of food. I did this two weeks ago in preparation for our beach vacation. I knew that I wasn’t going to eat clean the entire trip so I really made an effort to do it beforehand so I would go into it feeling really good and the temptations wouldn’t be as great. I have to say that it worked! I had a couple of roasted marshmallows, a few cookies and quite a few beers on the beach. Being on sugar white sand and not drinking a Corona with lots of lime would be nearly impossible for me.

Alright – so back to the food. As you will see, if I find something I like, I eat it all the time. Here’s 5 days of tasty food!

Friday Breakfast: I pretty much have this every day for breakfast. My mornings start at 4:15 and I don’t have a chance to sit down and eat until after 7:30 so this is a great way to start the day. Fill your cup up about halfway with UNSWEETENED coconut milk. Microwave it for 30 seconds. Pour it in the shaker and add one scoop of protein powder. Shake like crazy. Pour into your coffee cup and fill the rest with coffee. It’s like a latte but much healthier! A fun coffee cup is also a must.

 

Friday Post Workout/Late Breakfast: It’s really important to get some protein in you within 30 minutes of working out. This helps rebuild your muscles and for me, it helps regulate my blood sugar. If I wait too long to eat, I’m left with a raging headache. Here we have a hard boiled egg with sea salt, pepper and Central Market Organics ketchup. Sounds crazy but it is so good. Half an avocado and one link of nitrate free chicken and apple sausage. This is a great combination of protein and good fat sources.

 

Friday Lunch: We had grass-fed burgers for dinner on Thursday and I had one left over. Lucky me! Lunch was mixed greens, cucumbers, red bell peppers, black olives, crumbled burger and feta cheese. Dressing was olive oil and vinegar. Tasty!

 

Friday Dinner: Green night! Costco has this awesome frozen basil pesto Talapia which is super easy to make. It goes straight from the freezer to the oven and you have fish in 14 minutes. Steamed broccoli and organic frozen green beans tossed with butter and sea salt.

 

Saturday Early Breakfast: Protein powder and coffee.

Saturday Late Post Workout Breakfast: Half an avocado, nitrate free chicken and apple sausage and organic grapes.

 

Saturday Lunch: Mixed greens with cucumbers, carrots, black olives and nitrate free turkey lunch meat. Olive oil and vinegar dressing.

 

Saturday Snack: I know, I know – popcorn? Really? I know it’s a grain and corn is bad for you but I love popcorn. I do make sure that I buy Central Market’s organic brand.

 

Saturday Dinner: I didn’t have any dinner on Saturday. All of my meals and my bowl of popcorn were pretty late in the day so I wasn’t hungry.

Sunday Breakfast: Fried organic egg, nitrate free bacon and organic strawberries!

 

Sunday Post Workout Lunch: I LOVE the AdvoCare shakes. If you use coconut milk, they thicken up like milkshakes. I added strawberries and a teaspoon of chia seeds to mine.

 

Sunday Dinner: Here’s the 5-10% of my not eating clean. Neither one of us was in the mood to cook dinner so we went out. As you can see, I had a Corona and some chips and queso. YUM! I was really jonesing for enchilladas but I opted for the stuffed avocado instead. It’s a fresh avocado stuffed with shredded chicken and topped with sour cream and cheese. I peeled off the cheese and ate everything else. I left the beans and rice and then realized I payed out the nose for one avocado.

 

Monday Early Breakfast: Protein powder and coffee.

Monday Late Breakfast: Coffee with coconut milk creamer and a dash of cinnamon, half an avocado, strawberries and chicken and apple sausage. Familiar, no?

 

Monday Lunch: I had breakfast pretty late so I wasn’t hungry for lunch.

Monday Snack: The other half of the avocado. The perfect snack!

 

Monday Dinner: Grilled sirloin, baked sweet potato fries and tossed salad with oil and vinegar dressing.

 

Tuesday Early Breakfast: Protein powder and coffee.

The rest of the day on Tuesday: I had a TON of running around to do on Tuesday to get ready for our trip so I knew that sitting down to eat wasn’t even going to happen. I armed myself with snacks and lots of water to get me through the day. Lara Bars, OsTrim sticks and nuts. Easy to pack up and eat on the go. I wish I could remember what I had for dinner. My guess is that it was probably grilled chicken, salad and a veggie.

 

That’s 5 days of food for you! Easy to prepare and super tasty to eat!

Right now, I am sitting outside our RV in an amazing RV Resort right ON THE BEACH in Destin, Florida. We took a very much needed vacation with some really good friends of ours and their 7 year-old daughter. We left Austin on Saturday at about 9:30 am and stopped in Lafayette, LA. OMG – we meet the most awesome people at the KOA campground. We stayed up drinking wine until after midnight with our neighbors. We also had some AMAZING cajun food.

We hit the road at about 10am to head to Florida. This is my first time out of Texas heading East and the scenery was so beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything greener and the swamps and bayous are so cool. We made it to Destin at about 5pm on Sunday. Pulled into our spot and ran straight down to the beach. I’ve been to some really pretty beaches in Mexico and let me tell you, the sand and water on this beach is second to none. It’s like sugar! And it’s in my teeth!

My friend Rae that I am traveling with is also a client of mine and hooked on CrossFit. When you travel with a client, be prepared to work out! We brought mats, a resistance band, 4 empty sand bags and one 25lb kettle bell. We were going to bring medicine balls and more kettle bells but we didn’t want to add too much extra weight to the RV.

We did a super quick partner WOD this morning on the beach after we got everything set up. 100 American swings, 100 sumo deadlift high pulls and 100 situps. Tomorrow will be much harder with our sandbags!!!

Here’s an awesome list of WODs you can do on vacation without any equipment. Courtesy of CrossFit Round Rock – http://crossfitroundrocktx.com/travel-wods/

Here’s Rae killing it with the kettle bell!